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Great weekend of weather, but changes coming

Posted by David Epstein  May 4, 2013 09:00 AM

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The first weekend in May is going to be a pretty nice one with sunshine and seasonable temperatures. Coastal areas are going to be cooler than those of you who live inland. In Boston, highs today will remain in the upper 50s while it will reach the middle 60s west of Route 128. As you know the ocean is still quite chilly and with the wind coming off the water this cools the air along the shore. Tomorrow a few clouds may start the day but it will turn out mainly sunny again. The sea breeze won’t be a strong tomorrow and most areas will enjoy temperatures well into the 60s to near 70F.

I'll be updating the forecast for next week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

Of course we do need rain. Even if you aren’t a gardening enthusiast you must be noticing how dry it has become. Fire danger is very high and the air is awash with pollen, both thanks to the lack of rainfall. It’s not the entire country that's dry. Record snows have occurred out west in the past week and heavy rainfall in the center of the country and in Florida has been occurring while we have been basking in all this sunshine.

The jet stream that controls our weather has become stuck in what is called an “omega block.” The term comes from the fact that the jet stream takes on a configuration that resembles the Greek letter omega. If you look at the image below you can see what mean. I drew a red line on the part of the jet stream that is impacting our weather. You can see the shape of the omega clearly between Texas and the Atlantic ocean with New England in the middle. If you are going to be stuck in an omega block we are sitting in the perfect spot.

The edges of the omega are where large storms get stuck. The middle of the omega is where nice weather or high pressure gets caught. We have been in the nice part of the block for the past couple of weeks. If the block had gotten stuck further east or west we might have been caught in the unsettled part of the block. If can you recall a spring in the past when it rained and rained for a week or more and clouds and cool temperatures where the rule, that weather was most likely the result of an omega block.
Omega block May 2013 1.png
Blocks are a common phenomenon, especially in the spring when the atmosphere is transitioning between winter and summer. After Tuesday the block will finally break down and a new pattern will try to establish itself. This is why rain showers are a possible starting Wednesday. When blocks break down the weather can be quite unpredictable. When it finally rains and how much we receive are still in question. However, the middle of next week looks to provide the best chance of some wet weather we have seen in quite some time.

I'll be updating the forecast throughout the week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

Gardening this week
This is a great time of year to get the lawn in shape. In this week’s video I talk about a few things I am going this time of year to keep my lawn healthy.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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